Consultation on Draft Methodology for Local Authority Renewable Energy Strategies (LARES)

Directive 2009/28/EC on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources establishes the basis for achieving the EU’s 20% renewable energy target by 2020. Ireland’s National Renewable Energy Action Plan (NREAP) sets out how Ireland intends to achieve our individually binding national renewable energy (RE) target, of 16% of energy demand, by 2020: through 40% of electricity consumption, 10% of transport energy and 12% of heat energy being obtained from renewable sources by 2020. To achieve these agreed European targets, the delivery of RE infrastructure will have to undergo a substantial transformation.

In energy planning terms, 2020 is rapidly approaching. However, the Government is also looking beyond 2020 in terms of the opportunities to develop Ireland’s extensive offshore RE resources, including offshore wind, wave and tidal energy, recognising that these offer rich potential over the coming decades.

As part of its brief to “promote and assist the development of sustainable energy”, SEAI hosted regional wind energy workshops in 2010. The target audience was local authority planners and other officials and stakeholders involved in the delivery of wind energy. At the workshops a number of stakeholders stated that they would welcome assistance in the preparation of more comprehensive Renewable Energy Strategies (RES) for their areas. In this regard, SEAI convened a steering group to oversee the preparation a methodology and template to act as a guide for local authorities in the preparation of their RES.

Local authorities increasingly deliver wind energy development plans in response to the statutory requirement to zone land for windfarm development and there is a growing trend whereby some authorities are considering the development of RE strategies with a broader focus than solely wind energy. Thus, while there is no obligation to prepare a RES, SEAI has responded to this trend by developing this methodology to support local authorities in their efforts.

This methodology aims to facilitate consistency of approach in the preparation of RES, and to assist local authorities in developing robust, co-ordinated and sustainable strategies in accordance with national and European obligations. The methodology also aims to address the most common issues regarding RE technologies and projects.

The draft methodology can be downloaded using this link:

Draft Methodology for Local Authority Renewable Energy Strategies.pdf [pdf file 1.9 MB]

The template for returning comments will be available to download here shortly.

SEAI would like to thank the following steering group members for their time and effort in assisting in delivering the LARES methodology:

Henk Van Der Kamp (Chair) – School of Planning, Dublin Institute of Technology
Una Dixon – Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources
Aileen Doyle – Department of Environment, Community and Local Government
Aoife Crowe – The Commission for Energy Regulation
Stephen Roy – National Parks and Wildlife Service
Mary Hughes – Irish Planning Institute
Martina Moloney – City and County Managers Association
Gael Gibson – EirGrid
Bart Moriarty – ESB Networks
Brian Riney – The Regional Planning Authorities
John Mc Cann – The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland
Martin Mc Carthy (Secretary) – Renewable Energy Information Office

Comments on the draft methodology should be returned to  on or before 5th October 2012.

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